During Halloween, people all over the world dress up in costumes and put up spooky decorations in and around their homes, while kids – and maybe their parents – go trick-or-treating. However, some Christians are opposed to such a holiday, saying that it originated from false religions and that it’s a day of worshipping demons, thus, it is evil. Considering how others celebrate Halloween today, this isn’t surprising. But what does this mean to Catholics? Do we celebrate it? Are we even allowed to do so? Find out in this article.
As Catholics, we are free to celebrate Halloween. This shouldn’t be an issue since this holiday originated from the Catholic Church. The name itself came from “All Hallow’s Eve” or the Vigil of All Saints’ Day, which is when we remember and honor those who have gone before us and entered heaven.
So how do Catholics celebrate Halloween? Continue reading to find out. I’ve also included what the Church says about this holiday.
Are Catholics Allowed to Do Halloween?
Catholics are certainly allowed to do Halloween. There shouldn’t be any confusion about this because the truth is, this holiday is actually rooted in the Catholic Church. The term “Halloween” itself came from the Catholic tradition of “All Hallow’s Eve” or “Vigil of All Saints’ Day”, which is a time we remember and honor all the saints who have joined the Lord in heaven.
Then immediately after that, on November 2, the Church commemorates and prays for all our brothers and sisters who are still in purgatory. That said, All Hallow’s Eve is a gloomy period in the Church since it’s when we naturally think about death and our morality.
While Catholics are not prohibited from celebrating Halloween, the Church does remind us to maintain the meaning and purpose of all our holy days, especially those that have been adopted by modern society. Let’s get into this in more detail below and discuss what the Catholic Church says about Halloween.
What Does the Church Say About Halloween?
In the “Memorandum On the Celebration of Halloween Within the Diocese”, Bishop Konderla reminded the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma that: “As the annual celebration of Halloween approaches, we are reminded of the importance of maintaining the Catholic meaning and purpose of all holy days, especially those which have been adopted and adapted by the culture around us.”
Bishop Konderla further said that this feast day is an important time in the Catholic Church since it is when we “rejoice in the lives of all God’s saints whom we wish to follow into eternal life.” He then finished his statement: “Let us make this year’s celebration an act of true devotion to God, whose saints give us hope that we too may one day enter into the Kingdom prepared for God’s holy ones from the beginning of time.”
In an interview with Dr. Marcel Brown with the Vatican News, the news portal of the Holy See, it’s mentioned that “the feast of Halloween is one of those feasts on the Catholic calendar that is celebrated on the eve of a great solemnity.” It also says that “it’s a day when Catholics celebrate the triumph of the Church in heaven, and the lives of the saints on earth.”
Overall, the Catholic Church hasn’t said or put any restrictions on the celebration of Halloween. It’s clear, however, that it doesn’t consider such a festival evil. So we are all free to join and participate in such festivities, including giving out candy, carving pumpkins, dressing up in costumes, and other secular Halloween activities.
If you do decide to join in such activities, keep in mind the true meaning of Halloween – that it’s a time to remember and honor those who have passed on. It is not a day to celebrate the devil, ghosts, or any other scary creatures. You should also make sure not to make it about any superstition beliefs since this is against the Catholic faith.
As mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2111: “Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes.” It also tells us that it can even “affect the worship we offer the true God”. Thus, we are warned not to attribute “an importance in some way magical to certain practices.”
How Do Catholics Celebrate Halloween?
Early Christians used to celebrate the Feast of All Saints on May 13. But in 732, when a new chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated in dedication to all the saints in heaven, Pope Gregory III moved it to November 1. After a century, Pope Gregory IV extended this feast to the Universal Church, and it has been celebrated on the same day (November 1) ever since.
The Feast of All Saints was so significant to the Church that it was celebrated with a vigil or a liturgical celebration a night before the actual day. This practice was later popularly known as Hallowe’en or Hallows Evening. To this day, the Catholic Church still celebrates November 1 as a liturgical solemnity with a vigil on the night before.
That said, Catholics are encouraged to pray for the souls of those who went before us. It also reminds us that one day, we’ll meet our end too. So if we want to be just like the saints and righteous souls who got to meet Jesus and enter heaven, we should always strive to live good lives.
Here are all the ways Catholics celebrate Halloween:
- Attend mass.
- Pray for the intercession of the saints and all the souls in heaven.
- Dressing up. It’s suggested that we choose to dress up as the real heroes of the Catholic Church, the saints. We can also go with something fun, including athletes, superheroes, or cartoon characters. But no matter what, we should avoid costumes that go against the teachings of the Church like demons, devils, or anything about Satan. Additionally, we should stay away from concepts about witches, goblins, and other horror characters.
- Go trick or treating. Just keep in mind to be polite and to keep everything in moderation. You should also avoid gluttony.